The thing to remember is that while lunchtime is always likely to be fixed (12ish to 2.30pm – 3pm if you’re lucky), the good news is that dinner times are extended in peak season in some places. Unlike Anglo-Saxon countries, where people might sit you at 6pm for an early dinner, many restaurants in the south of France only open at 7pm. They may not start serving until 7.30pm and most French people wouldn’t dream of sitting down before 8pm or 8.30pm. It means that there are rarely two sittings in many expensive restaurants; dinner is a long drawn-out affair.
Sometimes in Nice, however, they will take you at 10ish (particularly along the Promenade des Anglais) or sometimes 11pm in summer months, because they close later. It will probably be decided on an ad-hoc basis (as and when people leave early and give up their tables) but it’s worth asking. Otherwise, it’s more than likely that you will have to head to places that advertise “service non-stop” or fast-food kiosks dotted about town.
Wayne’s is an institution in Nice; a place that is open seven days a week offering non-stop service until 11pm. It’s a British pub, so nothing French here, but the young crowd loves it. They cram in to listen to rock bands and to watch the live sport while filling their bellies with cheap beer and great value food.
Prices: Burgers from 6€ (£5) to 10€ (£8.50). Fajitas 20€ (£17). Brunch 8€ (£7).
Opening hours: Daily, until 2am (food served 12pm to 11am)
15, rue de la Préfecture, Nice +33 (0)4 93 13 46 99.
The Cours Saleya (near the flower market) is your most likely bet for any late-night food possibilities; there are lots of restaurants that are more than likely to let you come in after hours.
Chez Freddy is a “service non-stop” restaurant on the Cours and just off the main seafront drag. It offers Provençal food until 11.30pm in the Old Town. Don’t expect intimate fine dining (it can seat 300 people), it often has music and can be lively. It can give you moules frites (mussels and chips) after hours and it’s doing well enough to have another branch in Cannes. It’s well liked for its convenience and conviviality.
Prices: Salad Niçoise 14€ (£12). Lasagne 20€ (£17). Steak 25€ (£21). Mussels 15€ (£13).
Opening hours: Daily, 11am to 11.30pm
20 cours Saleya, Nice + 33 (0)4 93 85 49 99
Les Jardins du Capitole
Situated on the Promenade des Anglais, Les Jardins du Capitole might take reservations up to 11.30pm in the summer months. It has a sea view, offers a great value menu starting at 16€ (£14) – for a main course, coffee and dessert plate – is open all year round and offers continuous food service. It’s a touristy place, but good for those late night pangs of hunger.
Prices: Salad Niçoise 14€ (£12). Pasta 15€ (£13). Pizzas 15€ (£13). Fish 25€ (£21). Kids menu 10€ (£8.50).
Opening hours: Daily, 7am to 11pm (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
52 Promenade des Anglais, Nice +33 (0)4 93 44 78 81
Place Masséna for fast food
If you’re looking for fast food outlets, head to Place Masséna. The Subway chain is open until 2am in summer months and there are other options – burgers, pizza kiosks etc – that can give you take away without any trouble. Buy a falafel, sit on a bench and plan your next day’s adventures.